Tagged: Kawasaki

Brains and Brawn: 1978 Rickman Kawasaki for Sale

1978 Rickman Kawasaki L Side Front

Vintage bikes often appeal to riders of “a certain age” who grew up with these bikes and have a nostalgic soft-spot for them: vintage bikers naturally relate to vintage bikes. Some are just riders who love to tinker, while others just love the quirky looks and accessible performance of the machines from a simpler times and want the feel of a vintage motorcycle without all the “leaking oil on the floor” and “having to adjust the carburetors while idling at a stoplight” malarkey that sometimes goes along with vintage Triumphs and Nortons, making something like this Kawasaki-powered Rickman the perfect solution.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki R Side Fairing

Don and Derek Rickman created a line of dirt-racing motorcycles in the 1950’s and 1960’s, packaging bespoke frames and suspension packages around engines and transmissions from other manufacturers. Their line eventually expanded to include roadcourse and street machines, and they’re most famous these days for their line of big-displacement four cylinder bikes built around engines from Honda and Kawasaki.

In the 60’s and 70’s, suspension tuning was something of a “black art”, and while Japanese motorcycles were famous for their refined engineering, their handling was generally not on par with the European brands. So companies like Rickman used took that existing engineering and improved it by creating a chassis that could handle the power effectively.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Front

Bikes were generally sold in kit form: Rickman supplied a new, lightweight nickel-plated frame and aerodynamic bodywork, the buyer supplied engine, electricals, and other assorted bits to put the whole thing together. The results speak for themselves and combine the best of old-world British craftsmanship and racing expertise with powerful, reliable engines from Japan.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Rickman Kawasaki for Sale

You maybe  looking at one of the rarest bikes on the planet.  This bike is titled as a Rickman and not as a Kawasaki. The  bike is titled as a 1978. The  I.D. plate fixed to the steering neck indicates September, 1977 chassis and is the correct id plate for this bike.  

Almost all of the  Rickman CR900’s, of which few were built, were finished in green This bike has the orgiinal gel coat in red. The bike is original in color and I know of no other with this color. This is an original machine in pristine condition and rides like a rocket ship with the responsive and light frames built by Rickman powered by the Kawaski 900 cc motor. This bike performs as good as any modern bike today. 

The  900 cc motor number is Z1E 238xx.

This Rickman chassis was purchased in England by the original owner while vacationing there. 

The milage on this bike is less than 9,000. Most of these miles were accumulated prior to the motor being installed into the Rickman.  Thus this Rickman frame has seen very limited use.  The original rear sprocket shows virtually no wear. The saddle looks near new. The instruments are from the original Kawasaki and show the mileage covered by both the kaw and the Rickman chassis. If you are looking for an original colectable motorcycle that is sure to increase in value look no further. Rickman motorcycles, are extremely rare and  have proven in the past to be highly desirable and with their limited production should continue to increase in value. I have the clear title in hand and can assist with shipping.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Controls

Although I’d take issue with the seller’s statements that this is “one of the rarest bikes on the planet” and “this bike performs as good as any modern bike today” it is an unusual machine in superlative condition and will definitely handle better than the Z1 from which it borrows its powerplant. I’m not really sure exactly how many Rickman Kawasakis were actually produced: in many cases, these were sold as kits, not complete bikes, and a whole menu of upgrades were available, making history a bit hard to verify. These are very cool and desirable bikes, but I think the seller may be aiming a bit high with this one: there is plenty of time left on the listing with a Buy it Now price of $25,000.

-tad

1978 Rickman Kawasaki R Side

Evolution: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R for Sale

1978 Kawasaki Z1R R Side

Overshadowed by the obviously more exotic and suicidal turbocharged Z1R-TC, the Kawasaki Z1R was an evolution of Kawasaki’s Z1, a bike that is often overshadowed by the CB750 that was introduced first and stole all the “everyman’s multi” thunder.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R R Side Front

In fact, Kawasaki’s own 750 four was only a couple months behind the CB. But Kawasaki figured, that, if they couldn’t be first to market, they’d be first everywhere else, so they waited a couple years to introduce their own four-cylinder monster. With 903cc’s of  air/oil-cooled power, the Z1 blew the CB into the weeds in terms of outright performance. Along with the H1 and H2 two-strokes, the Z1 ensured that Kawasaki showrooms were fully of truly lethal machinery to kill the weak or foolish among the motorcycling fraternity…

1978 Kawasaki Z1R Dash

By the time the Z1R was introduced, Kawasaki’s basic platform was pretty outdated, with dual-shock rear suspension and heavy construction. The ice-blue paint compliments the angular, cafe-racer inspired styling and even extends to the rectangular fuel-filler cap. But although it was primarily a cosmetic update of the Z1, the Z1R’s evolutionary design featured meaningful mechanical changes as well. Cast wheels and a reinforced frame helped firm up the handling, and triple-disc brakes brought the heavy package to a stop consistently, even if performance is lacking by today’s standards. Power was largely left alone, aside from a displacement-bump to 1015cc. Which was just fine, considering Kawasaki’s place as the sand-kicking bully of the era.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R for Sale

Offered today is a great example of a original first year production KAWASAKI Z1R It is a original bike with all its original parts included notice the low production number , please watch you tube video of this rare and collectable machine !! 

This rare first year Kawasaki Z1R numbers matching original motorcycle ,its only original once !!!  a  vintage  collectable is a must for that kawasaki collector she runs and shifts  FANTASTIC  !!great  for those local jaunts, long rides or the infamous bike shows, a real winner.!!.

These bikes are hard to find ,expensive to get them correct ,  this bike is turn key and ready to go !!!! This condition is highly sought after great for the beginner and experienced collectors. A must have for anyone’s collection .GET ON AND RIDE turnkey bike .

As you can see from the photos this bike exudes quality and performance with that  70’s vintage look.

1978 Kawasaki Z1R L Side Front

There’s also a very nice, clearly narrated walk-around and startup video available here.

Interestingly, you can see the seller’s other Z1R in the background of his photos, which he states is a big reason behind the sale. I’ve never really understood the idea of collecting multiples of the same car or motorcycle. And to me, one of the coolest things about motorcycles is how relatively small they are, how little space they take up, at least compared to cars. So you can have more of them! There are so many cool modern and vintage machines out there, it’s hard to imagine why someone would want two of the exact same bike… But to each his or her own, and this one certainly looks like it’s in very nice condition, considering it’s supposedly original. Not flawless, but about as perfect as you’re likely to find this side of an expensive restoration.

While period reviews were positive about the changes made to the bike’s handling compared to the older versions, this is still pretty far from a canyon-carver. At almost 550lbs with a full tank of fuel they’re very heavy for sportbikes, but that powerhouse engine gives it straight-line performance and the weight might just help you keep the front end down as you blast away from stoplights…

-tad

1978 Kawasaki Z1R L Side

Fast and Green: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR R Side

As long as there’s been motorcycle racing, there have been riders wanting their street bikes to look like the ones they’ve seen tearing around racetracks: from café racers to modern Rossi-replica paint jobs, street riders ape the style of their heroes, although the very best examples combine a helping of both form and function.

And while more modern race-replicas are often based on track-bred, fundamentally uncomfortable sportbike ergonomics, bikes like this classic Kawasaki KZ1000R “Eddie Lawson Replica” actually work pretty well on the road. That’s really a function of the bike being based on the road-racing AMA Superbike mount of rider Eddie Lawson, which was based on the plain-Jane KZ1000J, Kawasaki’s standard 1015cc air-cooled four cylinder machine.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR Tank

De-stroked to 998cc’s to make it eligible for various racing classes, the R also featured an oil-cooler, 4-into-1 Kerker exhaust, upgraded suspension components, and adjustments to the steering-head angle to sharpen up steering. These relatively simple changes led to a bike that felt very different than the machine on which it was based. And although their more humble roots make them far more comfortable than modern race-replicas, bikes like the ELR pay the price in terms of handling: a 544lb dry weight makes them a real workout to hustle through the corners.

Of course, the bike’s actual performance is overshadowed a bit by a liberal application of Kawasaki’s lurid green paint and racing stripes!

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR Dash

While the description suggests this bike needs some work, looking at the pictures that have been included, I get the feeling the seller is a bit of a perfectionist, since this looks very clean and complete.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica for Sale

32,034 original miles. Last registered in July 1992. I purchased this bike with the intent of doing a total restoration. Having sat for 22 years I cleaned the carbs and changed the oil and filter.

Engine runs strong with no strange noises. All electrics work, lights, signals, horns, and gauges. I replaced the fork seals and fork oil and installed a new rear tire. I have cleaned and painted the wheels, foot peg mounts, battery box, forks, and other little parts. Besides needing a total restoration it is missing the chain guard, air box and needs a battery. I just don’t have the time needed to tackle a project of this size. It’s not perfect by a long shot but the basics are there to restore it to what it once was.

I encourage you to contact me directly with any specific questions that you may have about this bike or for additional pictures. Bike is available for viewing during the auction and is located in Northern California. Call and we can arrange a time. Bike is registered in California and title is clear and in my name.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR L Side Rear

This isn’t a low-mileage garage queen, but the seller’s assertion that it “needs a total restoration” might be a bit of an overstatement: he mentions that everything works and the engine runs well. From the photos, it looks to be in great shape, and the missing bits shouldn’t be any problem: chain guard? Who needs that? And the airbox can simply be replaced with cool-looking, if somewhat controversial individual filters. These are already pretty collectable, with only 750 original examples built,  and are quickly becoming valuable, especially in such decent, original condition.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR Fairing

I’m not obsessive about “patina” and I can appreciate restored and even-over-restored motorcycles with the best of them, but there is something cool about a bike that looks lived-in, one that looks like it’s been used as intended, but well cared-for. Has a few battle scars to show for its 32,000 miles. This bike sounds it just needs a couple weekends of work to make it roadworthy and provide plenty of miles and smiles before that “total restoration” is really necessary.

-tad

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR L Side

 

Wild Racing Replica: 1974 Egli-Kawasaki for Sale

1974 Egli Kawasaki R Side

This striking Egli-framed Kawasaki was built by yet another one of the small tuner/frame builders that proliferated in the 1960’s and 1970’s to provide a solution to a problem the major manufacturers seemed generally unable to deal with: frames that allowed bikes to live up to their full potential.

1974 Egli Kawasaki L Side Rear

Fritz Egli was a former Swiss motorcycle racer who opened his own shop in 1965, using his racing expertise to tune and improve his customers’ machines. He made his name building stiff, lightweight frames based on straight sections of tubing to fit Honda and Kawasaki engines, although he is perhaps most famous for his first bike, the stunning Egli-Vincent. Gotet Motorcycles in France is still allowed to produce a handful of frames per year for Vincent engines, and there are even a few Egli-framed Laverda triples running around, although I’ve never seen one of those for sale.

1974 Egli Kawasaki Dash

This particular machine was built into a replica of the French Godier/Genoud team that won the “Cup d’Endurance” championship in 1972. The preparation that’s clearly gone into this bike is impressive, and a quick look at the photos reveals a wealth of really cool period endurance-racing details, like the clear plastic tubing fuel gauge on the outside of the tank in the photo below.

1974 Egli Kawasaki Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Egli Kawasaki for Sale

For sale in south of France, Egli Kawasaki built by Alain Genoud and Claude Dangoisse as a tribute to the famous Egli Godier Genoud 1974 World Champion bike . Fantastic looking and working condition, sounds like a real thunder!  The bike is not road registered, I sell it as a racing motorcycle only. Huge historic file with pics, details, parts… Bol d’Or Classic, Classic days etc… Very well known bike in the paddocks. The first who will see, smell and ear it will buy it believe me!

This bike is listed on ebay Germany too where you can look at my details if you want to contact me directly…

The bike is for sale at a fraction of the huge certified cost price… Some very good parts and a very interesting and complete file come with the bike, history, races pics, bills etc… 

I can ship the bike everywhere at cost and can help for perfect crating, wooden box etc…

1974 Egli Kawasaki Carbs

Currently located in St. Rémy de Provence, France, there are no takers so far at an opening bid of $23,000 which is a shame. That seems like a pretty small price to pay: it may only be a replica, but Eglis are rare in any form, and this is very much a one-of-a-kind machine. While it doesn’t have authentic racing history, it’s fully safety-wired, looks the business and should run with the big dogs, if you can bear to risk wrecking it on track!

-tad

1974 Egli Kawasaki L Side

White Line Fever: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC for Sale

1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC Turbo L Side

One of the things I love about vintage cars and bikes is their experimental quality: new ideas were implemented left and right, although some of those ideas were less well-developed than others. “Half-baked” even, you might say… While this may not have led to the most satisfying customer experience, it certainly made for an interesting ride.

The Kawasaki Z1R-TC is one such bike, a glorious nightmare of potential litigation: buyers signed waivers and were sternly admonished by a Very Serious Sticker not to adjust the wastegate and increase boost beyond factory settings. Designed as a stopgap to move product and stimulate interest in the obsolete Z1R before the introduction of the much more modern GPz, work on the turbocharged version was farmed out to the Turbo Cycle Company. Kawasaki simply bolted “fully-developed” turbo kits onto completed Z1R’s.

Note the quotation marks.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC Turbo R Side Detail

The TC was anything but fully-developed: lag was so bad on early turbo bikes that passing technique generally involved holding the throttle open to keep boost up while dragging the rear brake, waiting for an opening in traffic. Bolt-on turbo kits generally run very conservative boost to reduce the chances of grenading stock internals that were never designed to handle the hellish pressures generated by primitive turbochargers. The TC ran 8-10psi, certainly not a patch on modern systems running 30+, but more than enough to turn engine internals into externals.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC Turbo L Side Rear

Upgraded internals were available for purchase at the dealer, but most buyers didn’t bother, and that might have kept some riders from killing themselves by encouraging a gentler throttle hand. Which is not a bad thing: the Z1R wasn’t exactly well-endowed in the braking and suspension departments. Or the frame-stiffness department, for that matter: handling that was best described as “stable in a straight line, at least” only got worse with the addition of 50% more horsepower that came on in an unpredictable, laggy turbo rush.

Too much boost in a corner and you could do a really good impression of an extra in a Michael Bay action movie, highsiding into the trees while your motorcycle explodes.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC Turbo Booooooost

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC for Sale

1978 Kawasaki Z1R TURBO “TC”

NOT A CLONE!!!

Here is your chance to own a rare vintage Japanese sports bike. Opportunities like this do not come very often. There were only approximately 250 of these bikes in this particular color combo made. This bike has less than 6,300 miles on body / original engine. Rebuilt (1250cc) motor has very few, if any miles on it. I have owned this bike since 1980 with only 50 miles on it! This bike is in great condition for its vintage. It has been stored indoors for many years and fired right up when it was taken out of storage.

This bike is incredibly unique and is certainly an excellent example of a rare vintage sport bike. Paint and decals are all original and chrome is still looking great!

The photos will speak for themselves.

Great cruiser bike with enough power for low 1/4 mile ETs
This bike went through an $11,000 rebuild with a 1250cc engine right before it was put in storage.
This bike has a Cal-Fab Swingarm which is 3 1/2 inches longer
The original engine (1015cc) is included in this sale.
This bike features an American Turbo Pak turbo charger:
Model Number 370-F-40-A
Serial Number 00075935
Part Number TC-247-99
Original Engine Number (1015cc): KZT100DE 005674
Built Engine Number (1250cc): KZT00AE015961

This example has very low miles and, aside from the some rust on the chain, looks to be in excellent condition. The new motor should make even more power, but at least be able to not explode when it comes on boost. So likely the engine will last longer than an enthusiastic rider… That extended swingarm will do the handling no favors, but this thing never went around corners anyway, and it should help with straight-line stability and hard launches from stoplights.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC Turbo Rear Wheel

Aside from the obvious collector value and bike-night posing, that’s what this bike is really good at: burnouts and stoplight drag-races. Imagine the hilarity: buy some beater Z1 bodywork to stick on it, and go out superbike trolling on a Friday night.

-tad

1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC Turbo L Side Front

 

Signed by the Artist: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR R Side

Prior to bikes like the Suzuki GSX-R750, production-based racers from Japan were big, burly brutes. Engines were large four-cylinders and plenty powerful, fitted to stiff frames that provided stability at the cost of agility. Clip ons? What are those? Superbike racing in the early 1980’s must have been amazing to watch, with pilots wrestling huge, unfaired machines around: in photos, the riders often look like small birds clinging desperately to the backs of charging rhinos…

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR R Side Rear

This bike is one of the classic road-going race-replicas of the era, a Kawasaki KZ1000R, also known as the “ELR” or “Eddie Lawson Replica.” Eddie Lawson was spectacularly successful on his bright-green KZ in AMA Superbike championship racing during the early 1980’s and the ELR was built to celebrate that success.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR Dash

The KZ1000R was based on the more common KZ1000J that was, in essence, and evolution of the original Z1. That engine had grown from 903cc to 1015 but was stepped down to 998cc for the KZ1000 to make it eligible for various racing classes that were limited to 1000cc.

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR Fairing

Typical hot-rod tricks were used for the KZ1000R to improve performance and the package included an oil-cooler, a slick Kerker 4-into-1 exhaust, and uprated suspension. A slight difference in frame geometry that increased the steering-head angle led to a pretty significant change in feel, and the “R” felt much sharper than its more pedestrian “J” cousin.

But, as stated, the bike was no lightweight at 544lbs dry…

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R ELR for Sale

I am selling for a friend a 1983 Super Bike Replica with low miles in which I have no reason to doubt. This is a new restoration due to the bike being outside for a few years. It has new tires and brake pads. The calipers and master cylinder have been rebuilt and bled with Dot 5 Synthetic brake fluid. Engine side covers have been re powder coated. Valve clearance has been checked and did not require shims. No engine oil leaks. New chain and sprockets.  I ran this on a shop I.V. bottle. The original petcock does not work and may need rebuilding. This will be shipped without fuel and battery. It has NOS hand grips and bar sliders. Complete tool kit and owners manual. The paint is high quality two stage urethane, the decal kit was NOS. Tail piece signed by the man himself. This would be a nice addition to anyone’s collection

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR Signature

With just 5,000 miles on the clock and only 750 examples built, it’s no surprise that the reserve has not been met at $7,400, especially since it’s been signed by Eddie Lawson himself! The repaint detracts from originality, but that should be balanced out nicely by that signature.

ELR’s are obviously not for shrinking-violets: the vivid green paint and all-around hooligan temperament make it an extrovert of a bike. These are very useable, so it’s a shame that this one will probably go into a collection and simply look cool, instead of being used to terrorize young punks on modern sportbikes in the canyons…

-tad

1983 Kawasaki KZ1000 ELR L Side

Muscular Survivor: 1975 Kawasaki Z1 for Sale

1975 Kawasaki Z1 L Front

Café racer-style conversions often result in bikes with more style than actual function: below-the-triple clamp clip on bars look really cool but they’re murder on the rider. Rearsets can be cramped, and those thin seats don’t have very much padding… So, if you’re looking for a classic ride that’s more accommodating for your, uh… classic joints, then maybe a “musclebike” like Kawasaki’s Z1 is really more your speed. And with the return of bikes like Yamaha’s XJR1300 to the US, your choice could even be considered “trendy…”

1975 Kawasaki Z1 L Side

With an upright riding position, wide bars, and a smooth, torquey inline-four, hot-rods like the Z1 set the standard for performance in the 1970’s. While the owners of European motorcycles had to make do with abstract qualities like “handling” and “brakes”, the big four-cylinder bikes from Japan had it where it really counted on the straight-line streets of America. Something you could easily measure with a stopwatch, or in tire-smoke as you pulled away from every stoplight on a Friday night.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 Gauges

Introduced in 1973, the Z1 might seem like a belated response to Honda’s CB750, but it was in fact developed concurrently. But when Honda’s bike was first to market, Kawasaki went back to the drawing board, and took a page from the Hot Rod Handbook, deciding that there was no replacement for displacement: the Z1’s 750 was punched out to 903cc’s, made 82hp, and could reach a top speed of 130mph.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 R Side

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Kawasaki Z1 for Sale

This Z1 has low original miles of 18,381 and is in superb running condition.  Lights, turn signals etc., are in good functioning order.
This is a remarkable original factory numbers matching bike, with some light restoration to round it out.  The original factory paint is nice and glossy and has only minor stone chips in the left underside of the tank. Much of the rear wheel was restored with fresh chroming of tire rim and correct new brass nippled spokes.

New sprocket tire and chain were added as well.
The exhaust has factory stamping but the left upper exhaust pipe is a DOREMI.
The valve cover has been polished not chromed the rear fender and front fender were disassembled and re-chromed as new!
The seat is a new reproduction seat and pretty much that and the one pipe are the only reproduction parts on this Z1
No surprises here just and honest original survivor nothing has been repainted!

Unfortunately, the Kawi’s appliance-like reliability meant that riders didn’t need to cherish them, and they didn’t inspire the kind of devoted care that the more idiosyncratic European brands enjoyed. With no need to join the Cult of Desmo or learn the Mysteries of the Isolastic, riders were free to use and abuse their bikes to their heart’s content, stopping only to top off with gas and replace rear tires. Eventually, many of them ended up with an accidental Mad Max aesthetic before they were parked up and discarded.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 R Pipes

Now, as interest in bikes of this era increases, nice examples are very rapidly escalating in value. Not long ago, you could pick up decent Z1’s for a song, but those days are gone and even basket-cases are commanding real money. This bike certainly isn’t perfect, but represents what many buyers want to see: a bit of period patina with a light refresh.

So buy it and ride it, or park it up and fire up GoogleTranslate and head over to the Sanctuary website for some exotic resto-mod parts! Bidding is very active with very little time left, so jump in quick!

-tad

1975 Kawasaki Z1 Front Detail

 

King of the Hill: Restored 1972 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV for Sale

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 L Front

Nothing the Europeans produced had quite the same character as the big two-stroke triples from Kawasaki. Produced first in H1 500cc form, and then later in S2 and S3 sizes, the H2 750 Mach IV was king of the hill in terms of power and displacement. With a short wheelbase and power that came on like a 2×4 to the back of the head, these developed a reputation for killing their owners, although, unlike the earlier Mach III with its bendy-riffic frame, this was likely a result of new riders not really being prepared for the experience of the two-stroke’s savage powerband.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 L Rear2

When the Japanese began their manufacturing onslaught, they were often perceived/portrayed as simple imitators, producers of budget crap that was great, if that’s all you could afford. But as their products eclipsed those produced by European manufacturers in terms of quality and reliability, they became less imitators and more innovators. And while bikes like Honda’s and Kawasaki’s big four-cylinder bikes allowed them to compete in the world motorcycle arena, they were still playing the game that had already existed, just playing it better.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Engine Detail

But the two-stroke performance motorcycles from Japan ushered in a new era of motorcycle performance, and mirrored the musclecar virtues of cheap speed, with frightening fuel economy to match: figures below 20mpg are possible with a heavy throttle hand. While Suzuki’s two strokes were often tamed for the road to smooth the power delivery, make them more four-stroke-like in character, Kawasaki embraced the gnarly character of the stroker, and their killer rep led to success in the showroom.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Dash

Considering the power on tap, these never sound all that menacing in person: the crackle and pop of even a big, highly-tuned two-stroke still sounds like the world’s angriest lawnmower to me. But until recently, the fastest motorcycles in the world were 500cc two-strokes that left an angry, buzz-saw wail in their wake.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Exhaust

From the original eBay listing: 1972 Kawasaki H2 750 for sale

This is a 1972 Kawasaki H2 that has been restored to as new condition. The engine number is 22221 and the frame number is 22118. It is a museum quality restoration of every single piece. If the original piece could not be brought back to as new it was replaced with NOS. The seat, pipes, and front foot peg rubbers are reproduction(I installed the foot peg rubbers without realizing they were not NOS and I’m too lazy to change them). All of the metal parts were taken down to bare metal and either re-plated or painted. The painted parts have 2 coats of zinc-chromate primer, 1 coat of sandable primer, one coat of sealer and the correct paint. The hardware is all NOS as is most of the rubber pieces. It was painted with as close a match as I could find for the original Kawasaki Candy Blue, it’s 2 coats of silver-white pearl with 4 coats of candy blue, the decals and then 2 coats of clear. Every single date-coded part that came on this bike is still on it and so are the steel plugged handlebars. The crank has been rebuilt with slotted rods and the pistons are from Wossner pistons, rings and pins. The original CDI’s that are pictured in the bike are not in it now but will be included. I have a Lakeland box installed. It has Continental tubeless tires with tubes installed. The gauges were done be Don Fulsang. This bike is as new right down to the inside of the switch houses and including the original wiring harness. I have installed a lithium ion battery instead of a wet-acid battery. It’s a numbers matching bike and I have put 400 miles on it since the restoration and all the bugs are worked out, it’s ready to show or ride. This bike is tuned beautifully and runs like it should, scary. If you want a new 1972 Kawasaki H2 this is as close as you will get. The only flaws are the candy blue pooled a bit on the top of the side cover so when the seat is up you can see it. After you ride it hard and park it the transmission will leak a couple of drops and quit, I must have roughed up the transmission shaft seal when I installed the shaft, and the tool kit strap is incorrect although a NOS Kawasaki part, it’s the battery strap. If it bugs you it’s an easy fix. I did all the work on this bike myself, it took me 9 months to build and I could not count the hours. I built it because I wanted a new 1972 H2 and this was the only way to get one. I now have other triples to restore and don’t have time to ride this so it’s for sale. This bike has no disappointments. I don’t think you can buy one nicer.

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Electrics

The seller mentions that the color isn’t a perfect match for the original paint, but I think he’s being hypercritical: this is a really gorgeous bike, with a price tag that matches the preparation. I wouldn’t normally include a picture of the wiring, but you can see just how nice this example is. These have been steadily increasing in value for quite a while now and, while this is near the top of the range, the price doesn’t seem all that outrageous, since you could practically eat off the engine, it’s so clean.

-tad

1972 Kawasaki H2 750 L Rear

 

Little Rocket: 1973 Kawasaki 350 S2 Mach II

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 R Side

Kawasaki’s two-stroke triples were a milestone in Japanese motorcycling history. While the Honda’s CB750 offered sophistication and technology at a relative budget price, it wasn’t really doing anything you couldn’t get elsewhere, although you’d have to pay a lot more to get it… But Kawasaki’s line of two-stroke triples that started with their H1 500 in 1969 was exactly its own thing and created its own, purely Japanese vision of what a performance motorcycle should be. The bikes were designed for basically one thing and one thing only: brutal straight-line speed with a crackling, angry-buzz soundtrack that left a haze of blue smoke hanging in their wake.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 R Engine

Made between 1971 and 1974, the Kawasaki S2 350 was instantly recognizable as a part of their two-stroke family, and featured familiar styling cues that included the three asymmetrical exhaust pipes and kicked up ducktail rear. As with many of the smaller-bore machines sold in the US, the S1 and S2 were really overseas models designed originally to skirt taxes on bigger machines and licensing laws for new riders. So the 250 Mach I and 350 Mach II were actually more civilized than their bigger 500 and 750 brothers, although maybe “civilized” might be pushing things a bit, or should at least be considered a relative term…

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Dash

The 346cc engine featured a smooth 120° crank and put out a claimed 45hp at 8,000rpm in typical two-stroke, lightswitch-style and the narrower engine of the smaller bike improved cornering clearance. It was a good bit lighter than its bigger brethren at 330lbs dry, and that lighter weight led to a corresponding improvement in what was known at the time as “handling”.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Side Tank

These little triples were actually pretty nimble, although the first year was definitely underbraked and the marginal front drum was replaced with a more powerful disc for 1972. The 350 was eventually replaced by a 400cc version in 1974 that actually made less power but was more flexible.

Translated from ALL CAPITALESE over at the original eBay listing: 1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Mach II

This is a fine example of a 73 S2. A fair amount of time and labor went into this bike to spruce it up. It runs very well and is very good condition. The tins were completely stripped to bare metal, reconditioned and painted to the stock original color. There is no decal: it’s all paint. A professional vintage motorcycle auto body shop performed the work and it is showroom condition paint.

The seat is in pristine condition and is original. New bars, grips, mirrors, polished controls. The engine covers were removed triple polished and new gaskets were installed. Tube seals and dust boots were replaced. Both rims were in great shape and were cleaned, rear hub was triple polished, new spokes installed along with new tires and tubes. Cylinders were honed and new std bore pistons and rings installed. The caliper and master cylinder were serviced. Oil change, plugs, points and condensers, dialed in, timed and tuned. The carbs were serviced, synced and adjusted. It still has the clean original exhaust pipes. All hardware was cleaned, polished, and/or replaced. It is all stock in appearance.

It starts on the first kick and rides nice and smooth.

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Seat

The S2 wasn’t simply an H1 with a de-bored and de-stroked engine stuck between the frame rails: while it used a similar design for both frame and engine, parts are not generally cross-compatible. And therein lies the problem: parts for these cool little machines can be difficult to come by. Luckily, this particular bike appears to be in great running shape, so bodywork won’t be a problem unless you loop the little monster over backwards…

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 Underseat

The S2 really isn’t at all what you might be expecting if you’re familiar with four-stroke engines of similar displacement. These things are very quick for their size and although tested top speed is shy of 100mph, they’ll get you off the line in a hurry and feel very much like their larger brethren, with the same dismal fuel economy: Kawasaki’s triples were the fastest machines in their respective classes, but you paid for that speed at the pump.

With prices of the H1 and H2 bikes skyrocketing in recent years, this presents a cool opportunity to get one of Kawi’s famous triples in a much more manageable package for a much lower price.

-tad

1973 Kawasaki S2 350 L Side

 

Fully-Restored 1975 Kawasaki Z1B for Sale

1975 Kawasaki Z1 L Front

The Kawasaki Z1 was, along with the Honda CB750, a pair of final nails in the coffin of European big-bike dominance. While the Z1 will always have the stigma of “copycat” because it was released after the Honda, Kawasaki’s 750cc four-cylinder was actually being developed at the same time, unbeknownst to either manufacturer. When Honda released their bike ahead of Kawasaki, it sent their engineers scrambling to come up with something to differentiate their new bike.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 L Rear Low

So of course, they made it bigger. With 903cc’s of smooth, relentless power, it blew the CB into the weeds in terms of outright performance, with 82hp and a top speed of 130mph. Honda may have been first, but the Kawasaki was undeniably faster.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 Cockpit

These two new four-cylinder models were powerful, relatively inexpensive, and far more reliable than anything the Europeans were producing at the time. They may not have handled quite as well, but on straight-line roads all over America, nobody cared.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 R Side

Unfortunately, many of these were used and abused, then discarded: the finicky nature of British and Italian motorcycles makes them a labor of love, and long hours spent keeping your motorcycle in good tune creates a bond born of blood, skinned knuckles, and an empty bank account. But Japanese bikes just worked, and large numbers sold meant that they were hardly rare and collectible. But now, good examples like this one are very much in demand, and prices are on the rise.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 Front

From the original eBay listing: Restored 1975 Kawasaki Z1B for Sale

This 1975 Kawasaki Z1B is in immaculate condition.

I am the third owner, purchasing the bike in early 2011. Prior to my purchase, the bike went through a concours quality restoration. The entire bike was stripped down and rebuilt to original factory specifications. Where necessary new parts were used to restore the bike to an as new condition. The bike received new clocks, the bike’s original documentation shows the prior mileage to have been around 16,000 miles. The new clocks reflect the mileage (1,270) since the rebuild.

The bike has been meticulously maintained. Everything operates as it would have when originally new. It starts, idles, runs, handles, stops, as it did 39 years ago.

I have had the bike mostly on display at my house. It has been riden occasionally on sunny summer afternoons and shown at a few classic motorcycle events, where it always attracts attention.

The original Kawasaki Owners Manual and Warranty Handbook, and Clymer Service/Repair/Maintenance Manual, are included.

This is a museum quality example of this classic 1970’s Japanese superbike.

1975 Kawasaki Z1 Engine R Side

This is a stunning example of the Z1. While it may not be a more desirable 1973 model, it’d be hard to find one much nicer. Take a look at the close ups of the engine: aside from a few nicks, I doubt a Z1 looked any better brand new on the showroom floor!

1975 Kawasaki Z1 Engine Detail

With upright looks, twin shocks, a comfortable riding position, even for two, stable handling, and plenty of power, the Z1 epitomizes the classic Universal Japanese Motorcycle. At $16,500 the price of entry may be fairly high, but you aren’t likely to find one nicer.

-tad

1975 Kawasaki Z1 R Rear Light